Advice For The Class of 2018

Advice For The Class of 2018

Get ready: this year is going to be a good one.

Congrats! You made it! You're a senior! Pretty soon, you'll be where I am, packing up your room and heading off to the next chapter of your life. But hold on, slow down a bit. You've still got some time left here in high school, and senior year can be the most exciting or stressful time, depending on what you make of it.

Most probably, you're thinking of heading off to college next summer. Good choice, because so far, college is pretty great. Applications have been out for about a month now. If you're stressing, DON'T! You still have plenty of time. Make sure to do your research carefully, but don't worry about picking your dream school just yet. Work hard on your applications; remember, that stack of paper is the only thing colleges will get to know about you, so make sure all of it counts.

But, don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily either. Just because that stack of papers and list of numbers is all colleges see doesn’t mean that defines you. It’s incredibly important to remember that! You are a lot more than that, my friend. Don’t lose your mental health over something as silly and trivial as this. One of the biggest lessons I learned while applying for college is that it really does not matter where you go, it matters what you do once you get there. Aim for the highest and the best, but don’t be disappointed if you missed. You’re still going to great, great, great things. Take it from someone who was denied from her dream college, the University of Chicago, but who's still doing fine for herself wherever she ended up. There’s still plenty of opportunities. Oh and, make sure you don’t procrastinate. You have plenty of time, of course, but don’t wait for the last moment either. Do a little bit each day, or a little bit each weekend. This way, it’s much less overwhelming and leaves lots of room for continued mental functioning.

Once you’ve submitted your applications, reeelllllaaaaaxxxx. Relax. It’s over, you can’t change anything and nothing’s gonna happen when you’re fretting over it. You did it! You applied! Celebrate! And then, take a seat, preferably by the window, and get ready for the best year of high school. I’m not exaggerating when I say this. Senior year is by far the best year. By now, you know the lay of the land, you know the teachers, you know the people, you know what’s happening, so you can just enjoy the moment. Enjoy your last high school dances, go out with your friends, explore your hometown. Make time for old friends; you'll regret it when they leave and you didn't get to say goodbye. Have fun, go to parties, be excited for graduation, do those things that you’ve always wanted to do while in high school, because this is your last chance to do them. Don’t leave high school with regrets. But also, don’t forget to keep studying hard, stay on top of your grades—colleges really do look at all of your senior year grades.

On your last few days, remember to pause a bit to be thankful (even though all you want is to get OUT OF SCHOOL). This school is where you came from, where you learned, where you made friends, where you’ve spent so much of your life. Even if you hated it, it’s important. Say goodbye to your favorite places, favorite teachers. (Read this article on What They Didn't Tell You About Graduating and share it with your friends).

Senior year is going to be great. Just believe that it will be, and do what’ll make it great for you.

Cover Image Credit: Avondale High School

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How Speed Dating Helped Me In A Class Where I Knew No One

In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

Upon the beginning of a new semester, the start of new classes means there are a lot of new people to meet.

At my university in particular, our community is huge (40,000 undergrad), and we all have had many enormous lecture halls where it is basically impossible to get to know every single person in the room. However, there are certain classes where the amount of students is significantly downsized, and different types of students will have different reactions to this.

When I arrived on my first day of English-15 class (the required English class for every student in attendance at the university), the initial moments were awkward and somewhat nerve-racking. As I sat in my seat surrounded by 22 unknown faces, my professor instructed that we were going to play a game. In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

My professor then said that we were going to be “speed-dating” with others in our class. I had always thought that the term “speed-dating” was to be used in a romantic sense only, and in my eyes, the classroom was not the appropriate place for this. As we were quickly organized to sit face-to-face with complete strangers, I was all of a sudden intrigued.

For twelve rounds, we were given about three minutes to talk to each of our classmates. While about half of the time allotted was filled by obligatory small-talk (i.e. where the other person is from, what they plan to study, how old they are), the other half of each conversation continually turned into something different each time I spoke with someone new.

I talked about many different topics of varying importance and seriousness, but the interesting part was that I created these conversations with people I had never even seen prior to the start of class that day.

Although it was nine o’clock in the morning and I would have usually left class feeling sleepier than when I arrived, this first day of class was far from what I expected and I felt energized by the end of it. Although it was difficult to keep track of what I talked about and with whom I talked about it, speed dating largely improved the dynamic of the classroom and made the situation a lot less awkward than most first-day-experiences I had previously been a part of.

Although talking to strangers has its way of making some people feel initially uncomfortable, it really is the most efficient way to break the ice among students.

As educators of all different levels are actively creating new teaching methods for this generation of students, being a student myself, I feel as though the beginning of academic success begins with comfort inside of the classroom. Although the terms “speed-dating” and “learning” don’t traditionally go together in an academic sense, they helped create a pleasant environment in our classroom that will ultimately motivate me to feel comfortable around my peers and my professor alike.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Rented My Textbooks From Chegg And I Saved Hundreds

Say Goodbye to overpriced books, and say hello to cheap ones!

Textbooks have to be one of the worst parts of college. I love to learn, I love my classes, but I hate the textbooks that come with them. It has nothing to do with the content, but the price tag.

In college, you pay a ridiculous amount of money for textbooks because professors either have you buy the newest edition where there isn't a rental or used book to purchase, they make it available only in an E-book format, or they have you buy the textbook that comes with an additional $100 access code just so you can do your homework. It's stressful and ridiculous and I always find myself spending over $200 for textbooks each semester. Yeah, not per year, per SEMESTER.

This semester, I decided to take a little more action when it came to my books. Instead of ordering my books through the school bookstore, I did some research. I tried Amazon, but they were about the same price as the bookstore if not more at times.

So, I scratched that off my list. Then, I turned to buying used books from other students. It worked with a couple books, but a lot of people didn't have the version of the book I was looking for or were also selling it for a ridiculous price. With only two of the six textbooks I needed in hand, I was at a loss for what to do next. Then, I heard about this website called Chegg. I actually stumbled upon it while looking on Pinterest for "Cheap College Textbooks." I had always heard of Chegg, but I always figured it was too complicated and chose to never use it.

Let me tell you, that was stupid. I looked up the three books I needed and the total price for the three of them had my jaw dropping. My total came out to $85, which was the price of just one of my books at the bookstore.

Below my total, Chegg told me I was saving over $200. Can you believe that?! On top of that? They also offered me free shipping and it would be in my hands in 2-3 days. Also, instead of having to return my books the last week of school, I had a whole extra month to do it. I mean, I probably won't need that long, but hey, life happens sometimes and you forget!

They also send you a label to print off and you just have to pack the books up and ship them off! No return lines, no waiting, just returning your books on your own time.

There are also many other features to Chegg that include free E-books of the textbook you just rented, study tips, and lessons that go along with the books you rented. It really helps when it comes time for homework and tests!

There is a Chegg App that you can download to keep track of your orders and you can also use it for some of these features and to sell some of your own books that you might have!

One last thing that made me just fall in love with Chegg is that when I opened my box, it had a bunch of free goodies inside! There was a sample bag of tide pods, a coupon for MORE tide pods (I can never get enough of those honestly), gum, some coupons and even some gift cards that could be used for cute things for my room and also for some meals! It was just a really nice thing to find because it made me feel like more than just a college student trying to get cheap books.

It actually made me feel like a real person. That may sound odd, but it's true! By them just putting in something extra in my box, it helped eased my stress and mind about all the book troubles I had and it showed me that the people who work at Chegg actually care. They could have just sent my rental books, but they took the extra mile, and I think that's what every textbook rental place should be doing. I ordered my textbooks from Chegg and I'm telling you, I'm never using any other rental place.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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